One project in my portfolio at the moment is building what I call a disposable end-point model. It is a low priority project, but an ongoing one. The goal is to deliver the best user experience at the lowest price-point.
Portability is a must. Think about the concerns over swine flu and the like. What is your pandemic plan? My pandemic plan, at least from a technology standpoint, is straightforward. People work from home over the vpn and run apps from Citrix. So the end-point devices must be portable and dual-use.
Yet traditional notebooks are expensive. My firm, like most, has an inventory of aging notebooks. These older computers are costly to maintain (studies show ~$1K per device per 2 years) and replace if lost or stolen (studies show ~$50K per incident).
The sweet spot are computers that are cheaper than supporting aging devices and disposable if lost or stolen. No local data means no security incident, which erases the risk exposure of stolen devices. These inexpensive computers should be light-weight and easily ported from office to home. So I am looking at netbooks, which run around $500.
I spoke with Jeff Vance, Datamation, about these ideas. He recently wrote an excellent article that summarizes the netbook market and how data center managers are looking to use the devices: Will Desktop Virtualization and the Rise of Netbooks Kill the PC?